Contractors at the Panama Canal have received the second set of rolling gates from Italy for a new set of locks, part of a massive project to expand the waterway for larger commercial vessels. The Panama Canal Authority said the project is making good progress after previous disruptions.
One of the key commitments obtained by the Panama Canal Authority earlier this year to resolve a contract dispute with the international consortium building the lock systems on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans was delivery of the 12 remaining locks in stages by December.
The lock gates were delivered by a special-purpose, semi-submersible vessel from Trieste. The first four gates arrived last August.
The Panama Canal Authority said it also reached a new milestone this month with the pouring of more than 2 million cubic meters of concrete for the middle lock on the Pacific side.
In total, 4.3 million cubic meters of concrete is required to complete the construction of the two lock complexes. So far, a total of 1.8 million cubic meters of concrete has been poured on the Atlantic side.
The Canal authority said the expansion project is three quarters complete. The target date for opening to commercial traffic is sometime in the first quarter of 2016.